P. J. Carlesimo

P. J. Carlesimo
Personal information
Born (1949-05-30) May 30, 1949
Scranton, Pennsylvania
Nationality American
Listed height 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Listed weight 185 lb (84 kg)
Career information
High school Scranton Prep (Scranton, Pennsylvania)
College Fordham (1968–1971)
Career history
As coach:
1971–1975 Fordham (assistant)
1975–1976 Southern New Hampshire
1976–1982 Wagner
1982–1994 Seton Hall
19941997 Portland Trail Blazers
19971999 Golden State Warriors
2002–2007 San Antonio Spurs (assistant)
20072008 Seattle SuperSonics / Oklahoma City Thunder
2010–2011 Toronto Raptors (assistant)
2011–2012 New Jersey / Brooklyn Nets (assistant)
2012–2013 Brooklyn Nets (interim)
Career highlights and awards

As assistant coach:

Peter John "P. J." Carlesimo (born May 30, 1949) is an American basketball coach, coaching in both the NBA and college basketball for nearly 40 years. He is also a television broadcaster, having worked with ESPN, The NBA on TNT', Westwood One, Fox Sports Southwest for select San Antonio Spurs road games and CSN New England.

Carlesimo served as head coach of four different NBA teams, and was named Seton Hall University's "Coach of the Century." He was an assistant coach for the 1992 United States men's Olympic basketball team ("The Dream Team") that won the gold medal at the 1992 Summer Olympics. He was also an assistant coach for the San Antonio Spurs team that won three championships between 2003 and 2007.

Personal life

Carlesimo is married and has two sons.

He is the son of college basketball coach and athletic director Peter A. Carlesimo.[1]

Early coaching stints

Carlesimo is a 1971 graduate of Fordham University, where he played basketball under coach Digger Phelps. He began his coaching career as an assistant at the school after he graduated. He received his first head coaching job when he took over New Hampshire College for one year, beginning in 1975. The New Hampshire Penmen ended the 1975–1976 season with a 14-13 record and won the Mayflower Conference championship.[2] Carlesimo also had a successful coaching stint at Wagner College of Staten Island, New York, a Division I school, leading the team to two NIT berths in six years as coach from 1976 to 1982.[3] In addition, Carlesimo spent time coaching in Puerto Rico during the summers.[4]

Seton Hall University coaching years

Carlesimo coached Seton Hall University from 1982–1994, leading the turnaround of a struggling program. The Pirates made their first ever NCAA tournament in 1988, and Carlesimo was named the Big East Conference coach of the year.

In 1989, Carlesimo led the Pirates to their first-ever Final Four appearance following an 78-65 upset over the #2 seed Indiana Hoosiers coached by Bobby Knight.[5] They advanced to the NCAA Championship game against the Michigan Wolverines. In a controversial overtime, the Pirates lost 80-79.[6] Carlesimo was again named Big East coach of the year, following the 1989 season.

During Carlesimo's tenure, the Pirates made the NCAA tournament six times, four consecutively from 1991 until 1994. After going 6-23 his first season, he turned the team into a consistent title contender and eventual tournament runner-up and number one seed. Compiling an overall record of 212–166, he was named Seton Hall's "Coach of the Century."[7]

Carlesimo was an assistant coach under Mike Krzyzewski with the U.S. national team in the 1990 FIBA World Championship, winning the bronze medal.[8] He also served as an assistant coach on the 1992 Olympic "Dream Team", winning the gold medal.

NBA coaching career

On June 23, 1994, Carlesimo was hired as head coach of the Portland Trail Blazers.[9] Midway into his first season with the team, the team traded long-time Blazer Clyde Drexler in an effort to rebuild. However instead of falling in the standings, Carlesimo led the team to a winning record and the playoffs in his first season as an NBA head coach. He led the Blazers to the playoffs in each of his three years as their head coach, but was unable to lead the team out of the first round of the playoffs and was fired following the 1996–97 season.

In 1997, Carlesimo headed to the Golden State Warriors, again succeeding Rick Adelman as head coach (Adelman had previously coached the Trail Blazers prior to Carlesimo's hiring). He coached that team until December 1999, at which point he was fired after his team got off to a losing start for the third straight year.

In a practice during the 1997–98 season while Carlesimo was head coach of the Warriors, Carlesimo was attacked by Latrell Sprewell.[10][11] Sprewell choked Carlesimo for nearly 15 seconds until being pulled off by several teammates, and elbowed him several minutes later. The Warriors terminated Sprewell's contract, and the NBA suspended him for one year (later reduced to 68 games by an arbitrator); he never played for the Warriors again and continued to have troubles on and off the court.

After leaving the Warriors, he worked as a broadcaster and analyst with The NBA on TNT until being hired as an assistant coach under Greg Popovich in 2002. He worked with the Spurs until 2007, winning three championships in five seasons (2003, 2005 and 2007).

Spurs GM Sam Presti was hired as general manager of the Seattle SuperSonics following the 2007 championship, and hired Carlesimo as their head coach on July 5, 2007.[12] The team broke up their core of Ray Allen, Rashard Lewis, Delonte West and Wally Sczerbiak, essentially guaranteeing Carlesimo limited success for his first season.[13] That season, their second overall pick Kevin Durant was named NBA Rookie of the Year.

The Sonics relocated to Oklahoma City a year later, where they become the Oklahoma City Thunder, making him the first coach in Thunder history. Carlesimo was fired on November 22, 2008 by the Thunder after a 1–12 start.[14] During his time with the Sonics and Thunder, he coached the USA select basketball team that scrimmaged the national team in preparation of the 2007 FIBA tournament and 2008 Summer Olympics.[15] The team included Kevin Durant and Jeff Green of the Thunder.

On May 31, 2010, Carlesimo had reached an agreement to join the Toronto Raptors as an assistant coach under Jay Triano.[16] After one season with the Raptors, he was hired as an assistant coach by the New Jersey Nets[17] (later known as the Brooklyn Nets).

On December 27, 2012, he was promoted to interim head coach of the Nets after the firing of Avery Johnson.[18] Carlesimo took a team floundering at 14-14, and compiled 35-19 record for a fourth-place finish in the East, earning home-court advantage for the Nets in the first round. On May 5, 2013, Nets GM Billy King announced Carlesimo would not be retained as head coach after the team lost in their first round series against the Chicago Bulls in 7 games.[19]

NBA coaching record

Regular season G Games coached W Games won L Games lost W–L % Win-loss %
Post season PG Playoff games PW Playoff wins PL Playoff losses PW–L % Playoff win-loss %
Team Year G W L WL% Finish PG PW PL PWL% Result
Portland 1994–95 824438.5374th in Pacific303.000 Lost in First Round
Portland 1995–96 824438.5373rd in Pacific523.400 Lost in First Round
Portland 1996–97 824933.5983rd in Pacific413.250 Lost in First Round
Golden State 1997–98 821963.2326th in Pacific Missed playoffs
Golden State 1998–99 502129.4206th in Pacific Missed playoffs
Golden State 1999–00 27621.222(fired)
Seattle 2007–08 822062.2445th in Northwest Missed playoffs
Oklahoma City 2008–09 13112.077(fired)
Brooklyn 2012–13 543519.6482nd in Atlantic734.429 Lost in First Round
Career 554239315.431 19613.316


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